What does smallpox mean?

Definitions for smallpox

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word smallpox.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. smallpox, variola, variola majornoun

    a highly contagious viral disease characterized by fever and weakness and skin eruption with pustules that form scabs that slough off leaving scars


  1. smallpoxnoun

    An acute, highly infectious often fatal disease caused by a virus of the family Poxviridae. It was completely eradicated in the 1970s. Those who survived were left with pockmarks.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Smallpoxnoun

    An eruptive distemper of great malignity; variolæ.

    Etymology: small and pox.

    He fell sick of the smallpox. Richard Wiseman.


  1. Smallpox

    Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by variola virus (often called smallpox virus) which belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977, and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980, making it the only human disease to be eradicated.The initial symptoms of the disease included fever and vomiting. This was followed by formation of ulcers in the mouth and a skin rash. Over a number of days, the skin rash turned into the characteristic fluid-filled blisters with a dent in the center. The bumps then scabbed over and fell off, leaving scars. The disease was spread between people or via contaminated objects. Prevention was achieved mainly through the smallpox vaccine. Once the disease had developed, certain antiviral medication may have helped. The risk of death was about 30%, with higher rates among babies. Often, those who survived had extensive scarring of their skin, and some were left blind.The earliest evidence of the disease dates to around 1500 BC in Egyptian mummies. The disease historically occurred in outbreaks. In 18th-century Europe, it is estimated that 400,000 people died from the disease per year, and that one-third of all cases of blindness were due to smallpox. Smallpox is estimated to have killed up to 300 million people in the 20th century and around 500 million people in the last 100 years of its existence. Earlier deaths included six European monarchs. As recently as 1967, 15 million cases occurred a year.Inoculation for smallpox appears to have started in China around the 1500s. Europe adopted this practice from Asia in the first half of the 18th century. In 1796, Edward Jenner introduced the modern smallpox vaccine. In 1967, the WHO intensified efforts to eliminate the disease. Smallpox is one of two infectious diseases to have been eradicated, the other being rinderpest in 2011. The term "smallpox" was first used in Britain in the early 16th century to distinguish the disease from syphilis, which was then known as the "great pox". Other historical names for the disease include pox, speckled monster, and red plague.


  1. smallpox

    Smallpox is a highly contagious and deadly disease in humans caused by the variola virus. It is characterized by fever, overall discomfort, and a rash that turns into pus-filled blisters. Smallpox was eradicated worldwide by 1980 through a global immunization campaign led by the World Health Organization. It is the only human disease to have been completely eradicated so far.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Smallpoxnoun

    a contagious, constitutional, febrile disease characterized by a peculiar eruption; variola. The cutaneous eruption is at first a collection of papules which become vesicles (first flat, subsequently umbilicated) and then pustules, and finally thick crusts which slough after a certain time, often leaving a pit, or scar

  2. Etymology: [Small + pox, pocks.]


  1. Smallpox

    Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, derived from varius or varus. The disease was originally known in English as the "pox" or "red plague"; the term "smallpox" was first used in Britain in the 15th century to distinguish variola from the "great pox". The last naturally occurring case of smallpox was diagnosed on 26 October 1977. Smallpox localized in small blood vessels of the skin and in the mouth and throat. In the skin it resulted in a characteristic maculopapular rash and, later, raised fluid-filled blisters. V. major produces a more serious disease and has an overall mortality rate of 30–35%. V. minor causes a milder form of disease which kills about 1% of its victims. Long-term complications of V. major infection include characteristic scars, commonly on the face, which occur in 65–85% of survivors. Blindness resulting from corneal ulceration and scarring, and limb deformities due to arthritis and osteomyelitis are less common complications, seen in about 2–5% of cases.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Smallpox

    An acute, highly contagious, often fatal infectious disease caused by an orthopoxvirus characterized by a biphasic febrile course and distinctive progressive skin eruptions. Vaccination has succeeded in eradicating smallpox worldwide. (Dorland, 28th ed)

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of smallpox in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of smallpox in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of smallpox in a Sentence

  1. Tom Kupfer:

    Smallpox alone killed millions of millions of people, so if a human ancestor was predisposed to attend to those bumps, to dislike them and stay away from them.

  2. Robert Krakow:

    That's not an epidemic, it's not Ebola. It's not smallpox.

  3. Martin Sikora:

    The last 40 to 50 years have been exceptionally quiet for us, because we've had such tremendous progress in medical research, the combination of vaccines and antibiotics, the eradication of smallpox gives us hope for the current situation.

  4. Anthony Fauci:

    So, if we’re going to look ahead at what happens when this peaks and it ultimately goes down — as I’ve said on previous pressers here from the White House: that we’re not going to eradicate this; we’ve only done that with smallpox.

  5. Bill Hanage:

    We've only ever really eradicated smallpox and if it weren't for a couple of further interventions beyond vaccines, even that could still have been with us, most people who know anything about infectious disease don't think total eradication is possible.

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"smallpox." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 29 Feb. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/smallpox>.

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